Never mind. Forget I asked. Caffeine is not optional at the moment. One of the lesser-commented-upon fallouts of the pandemic is the disappearance of caffeine-free Diet Pepsi® from my local grocery sources. And no, I haven’t checked on the availability of caffeine-free Diet Coke® because, well, Coke®.
And yes, I know that caffeine-free Diet Pepsi® is not exactly a healthy beverage, but for me it’s a little treat: a perfect blend of sweet and caustic and one I can indulge without fear of sleepless nights or jitteriness. And of course it’s absolutely necessary when eating pizza. (Don’t even go there.)
This curious gap on the shelves can’t be a supply-chain issue, with the production or distribution of “caffeine-free” somehow disrupted. After all, we’re talking about leaving out an ingredient, not adding one.
Or maybe I don’t understand how Pepsi® is manufactured. (Well, for sure I don’t understand, and I suspect I’d rather not.) Maybe Pepsi® is like coffee or black tea, whose caffeine is an integral component of the basic ingredient, requiring removal for the decaffeinated version. In that case, maybe the chemicals formerly used to decaffeinate colas are needed for something more important, like, oh, I don’t know, acid-washing jeans.
Or maybe it’s a simple oversight: Maybe someone just forgot to churn through the usual number of vats of the good stuff. In that case, let me just say that if you return the caffeine Diet Pepsi® to the shelf, I will return my knife to its sheath.
Or maybe the powers that be have simply decided that we need to stay alert — And awake all night! — during these unprecedented times, and directed suppliers and grocers accordingly.
Just shut down that production line, OK?
Just pull the decaf stuff off the shelf, would you?
Good job, buddy.
Whatever is causing it, I hope this pan-gap will resolve itself soon. Like, sooner, than the 18 months of pandemic they say we have left to enjoy.